Main points of infant formula legislation in India
March 15, 2012 by LISA Infant Milk
India protects breastfeeding
On the subject of communication over infant formula, India has one of the most stringent legislations in the world. Advertising, giving gifts and free samples, promoting infant formulas toward doctors and health professionals, picturing mother or baby on labels, the sponsorship of events by infant formula firms, donation of educational material on such products, is simply prohibited.
Relevant rules and standards
Infant milk products in India fall under the requirements of the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
Their formulations must comply with the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act & Rules (1.10.2004). Their production, supply and distribution are regulated by The Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles and Infant Foods Act, 1992 as Amended in 2003 (IMS Act).
The customs code applying is 19011000-00. The conditions of their importation are specified in Section 1, Chapter 4 of the dedicated text of law.
The strictness of Indian requirements in infant milk substitute formulation reaches approximately the level of international standards.
The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act & Rules defines Infant Formula as being the product prepared by spray drying or roller drying of the milk of cow or buffalo or a mixture thereof. The milk may be modified by the partial removal/ substitution of milk fat with vegetable oils rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids and/or by different milk solids; carbohydrates such as sucrose, dextrose and dextrins, maltose and lactose; salts such as phosphates and citrates; vitamins A, D, E, B and C group and other vitamins; minerals such as iron, copper, zinc and iodine and others. Il shall be free from added starch, added colour and added flavor.
The FSSAI has defined maximum and minimum levels (as per cent by weight) of about 30 ingredients and 7 bacteria in infant formula.
Prohibiting any form of promotion for infant milk substitutes
India protects breastfeeding : national standards for breastfeeding protection are the highest in the world, from our experience. As a matter of fact, the IMS Act 2003 prohibits :
- Gifts and free samples
- Promotion of products for babies under two years of age
- Use of healthcare system, by any means
- Picture of mother or baby on labels
- Sponsorship, gifts to health care workers or their associations
- Donation or distribution of informational or educational material.
High tariff barriers for baby milk
A 30% duty rate shall be applied to infant milk imported from France. Despite the free trade agreement to be signed in 2012 between India and the European Union, this duty rate is not expected to decrease.